Do we really need an app that proves sexual consent?

Could a controversial new app be the answer to this post-Harvey Weinstein era of #MeToo and #IDidThat by focusing on sexual consent?

The opportunists behind the LegalFling app claim their software will nip disputes in the bud by providing legally-binding contracts laying out what is and isn’t permitted in the bedroom before you get laid.

The idea is for potential lovers to tap agreement on their smartphone screens ahead of any nookie, protecting them against unwanted sexual positions or group sex, STDs and so-called “revenge porn.”

“Sex should be fun and safe, but nowadays a lot of things can go wrong,” says the blurb on the LegalFling Web site. “Think of unwanted videos, withholding information about STDs and offensive porn reenactment.

“While you’re protected by law, litigating any offenses through court is nearly impossible in reality. LegalFling creates a legally-binding agreement, which means any offense is a breach of contract.”

If a breach occurs, it’s claimed that users can trigger “cease and desist letters and [enforce] penalty payments” and that LegalFling will make it easier to bring a case to court.

The app is currently only a concept, but its creator, the Dutch company LegalThings, hopes to win financial backing to bring the project to fruition.

Not surprisingly, the LegalFling initiative has been met with a mixture of amusement and dismay.

Twitter users have been quick to point out that it’s no panacea.

Brendan O’Connor‏ (@ussjoin) said: ‘This isn’t a real contract, but the people creating this *are* awful. #LegalFling should be ashamed for so, so many reasons. Penalty clauses, FFS? Infinite-length “binding” contracts? Stop reading 50 Shades as a legal text.”

 

Meanwhile @morganmpage wrote: “Straight men are so against putting in the tiny bit of effort to deduce whether or not women actually want sex that they’ve created a legal consent app.”


Replying to @morganmpage, @AdrienneCohea said: “I hate this application in the extreme, and rapists are going to start using it to defend themselves in court. Like, how do you record your *revoked* consent in the blockchain?


Perhaps the creepiest thing of all is the invitation app users will send out to those earmarked for a shag. According to LegalFling, a message such as “Jake is requesting sexual consent” will flash onto your smartphone screen.

Whoever said romance was dead was right.

|NYTIMES